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Hey Balaji: Not sure there’s a hard and fast rule. I would say 62 degrees and below is unsafe for swimmers who are not used to swimming in cold water, even with a wetsuit on. I would wait until at least 64-65 degrees to swim, and that’s why we plan on postponing the Sunset OWS to later in the month in the upcoming newsletter. I love cold water and I’ve swum in 55 degrees and 58 degrees. 55 is definitely too cold and will result in a painful but quick death. 58 degrees is cold, but bearable with full wetsuit, neoprene booties, head cap that covers ears, and gloves.
Lake Anna is unusual because it is located next to a nuclear power plant that uses the lake water to cool the plant. The water pumped out is usually 14 degrees warmer (and non-radioactive) so Lake Anna always will be warmer than the nearby water bodies. That’s why we do the OWS at Lake Anna every year, because there is no where else that is warm enough to swim in April or early May.